Posted in Life Writing, Parenting, Short Stories, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Weekly Features, writing, writing prompts, Writing Sample

Fairy Tales for #SoCS, February 10, 2018

“Hey, you little maniac! Stop biting the dog’s tail and get your ass over here!”

My throat is paying me back for all the screaming I’ve done tonight, but Finlay doesn’t even seem to hear me. Or, if she does, she’s flat-out ignoring me.

I wonder for a second whether wishing the dog was less good-natured about being chewed on makes me a terrible mother. But I don’t have time to follow through -we’re already fifteen minutes late for the baby’s doctor’s appointment, and his cough sounds croupy.

I shake Fin’s at her, but she keeps on chewing on Rascal’s tail as though I don’t even exist.

She’s going to make me come after her.

I take one step, trip over her shoe, and fall flat on my face. I open my eyes and I see a book – Fairy Tales for Little Princesses.


This post is serving double duty – something I’m doing as often as I can in these days where I am both navigating a path forward for my two teens and I, while at the same time negotiating  the reams of administrative details that go along with Jim’s illness and death.

As for this little passage, it’s both my entry into this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, where the prompt is tale/tail; and the rough draft of a story start for Holly Lisle’s Writing Flash Fiction That Doesn’t Suck workshop. I’ll be revising this bit and eventually expand it into a complete tiny story of about 500 words…

But, for now, this is all there is to it, and, since that can soon be said of today, as well, I’m going to wrap this post up before Saturday shows me its tail, and I end up telling you all a tale of woe tomorrow.

Until next week, may you be well, and all your tales be happy ones that – well, set your tail to wagging!*


Gently down the Stream of Consciousness….


Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2017, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, NaNoWrimo, Round 4 2017, slices of life, The 12 Week Year, The 12 Week Year #1, The 12 Week Year 2017, Writers' Resources, writing

Holding My Foundations: #12WeekYear / #ROW80 Midweek 6 Update

If ROW80 is the writing challenge that knows we all have lives, this is the week my life decided to be sure I know it’s there – in spades.

I’m not ready to share details, but there are things that take precedence over goals, and this is one of them. So, although I was planning to re-evaluate my #12WeekYear goals at the end of the week, I’ll be setting some aside, at least temporarily, a little early.

I’ll also be focusing in on other goals more intensely, because, when life is chaotic and uncertain, I’ve found that certain activities help me to channel my nervous and restless energies. And that’s imperative, because as I go, so does my household.

What do you do, when life throws you a hard curve?

Have you found some techniques that work better than others?

Relationships, Family, and Home:

Beta Readings:

Complete two chapters Stained Blood; one Spellfire’s Kiss, until both are complete: Weeks 6-12.

  • Resumed Stained Blood Chapter 5 comments: page 5/11 in progress.
  • Week 6 Progress: about 5%


Complete five hometending rounds in study; three in bedroom; and one on porch: Week 6.

  • Study: 2/5
  • Bedroom: 0/3
  • Porch: 0/1
  • 2/9 total.
  • Week 6 Progress: about 22%


Facilitate Jeremiah’s driving practice thrice weekly, weather dependent: Weeks 6-9.

  • 1/3 for the week.
  • Week 6 Progress: 33%

Draft Miah’s first quarter report: Week 6.

  • English Language Arts and Mathematics drafted; 2/16
  • Week 6 Progress: about 11%


Ongoing Learning:

DIY-MFA Pixels to Platform:

Complete Module One:  Week 6.

  • Worked on Breadcrumb Method.
  • Week 6 Progress: 10%

Complete Module Two: Week 8.

  • Week 6 Progress: 0%

Slaying SEO:

Spend 3 hours/week on class materials: Weeks 6-7.

  • .25 / 3 hours.
  • Answered comments and skimmed a few things on the workshop page.
  • Page descriptions started for blog in Week 5; 2/16
  • Week 6 Progress: about 8%

How To Revise Your Novel:

Complete three hours of lessons, using “On Any Tuesday Night.” Weeks 6-12.

  • Week 6 Progress: 0%

New Writing:

Among the Firestars:

Complete The Story Toolkit Plotting elements through Act One Beat Sheet (can skip steps as indicated); then move forward with Acts Two-Four Beat Sheets as I complete each previous act’s drafting: Weeks 612.

  • Subplot A (1/3): 1/7 in progress.
  • Section 10/14 (22 total) in progress.
  • Week 6 Progress: About 20%

Complete rough draft to 25,000 words: Week 6.

  • 11/5:   3,010 words:   15,035/50,000.
  • 11/6: 1,836 words:    16,871/50,000.
  • 11/7: 1,690 words:    18,561/50,000.
  • Session Total: 6,536 words.
  • Week 6 Progress: About 40%

Chef Bluebeard:  All goals on hold for the time being; hopefully not for long.

Adapt media schedule: Week 6.

  • Week 6 Goal: COMPLETED!

Find/contact holiday venues as indicated; contact total of 4 businesses for POS sales: Week 6.

  • Completed most of online application for 2 events; it just needs to be signed and have payment remitted (they didn’t state how, so I need to find out) – on hold, due to extenuating circumstances.
  • Week 6 Progress: about 10%

Health, Fitness, and Spirituality:

Samsung Health  (on hold; I likely won’t finish this program before it runs down):

Complete 5K Week 8 (missed 2 workouts); 2 workouts from Week 9: Week 6.

  • Week 6 Progress: 0%

Tai chi ,yoga, and reiki: (all goals on hold, for now).

Tai chi: Attend class at least weekly; either Monday evening, or Tuesday and/or Thursday afternoons: Weeks 6 -12.

  • Week 6 Progress: 0%

Attend a drop in yoga class at ReVibe: By Week 7.

  • Week 6 Progress: 0%

Mindful Eating:

Eat three vegetable based meals/snacks; Monday/Wednesday/Friday: Week 6.

  • Missed Monday meal; thought I was still on twice a week.
  • Week 6 Progress: 0%

Personal Expression:

Evaluate bras; choose a favorite. Week 6.

  • The Goddess sports and Cacique everyday bras are in a dead heat, but I don’t need another sports bra. So, when the time comes, I’ll be adding another Cacique to my collection.
  • Week 6 goal: COMPLETED!

Return Torrid bra. Week 6.

  • Week 6 Progress: 0%

 Make a list of jewelry items I might enjoy adding to my collection: Weeks 6-7.

  • Week 6 Progress: 0%


The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have A Life!

ROW Along, or Cheer Us On!

We’re On Facebook, Too!


Posted in Blog Hops and Fests, Challenges and Contests, fantasy, Just for Fun!, Marketing my Writing, NaNoWrimo, Weekly Features, WIPpet Wednesday, writing, Writing Sample

Pressing for #NaNoWriMo2017 WIPpet Wednesday

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date.We’re led by the capable fingers and nimble mind of Emily Wrayburn.

Hello there, fellow WIPpeteers – and, to those just along for the ride – welcome! Hop in, get comfy…and let me weave you a story.

But now, on to the WIPpeting!

I’ve been sharing installments of my TnT fan fiction story, a revised version of Humanity’s Enterprise.

But it’s now November, and that means National Novel Writing Month. And THAT means I’m working on something new.

I thought I’d play a little game, here. Each week, I’ll post a snippet of my new story. For every comment I get, I’ll share one fact about the novel the story is coming from.  And, since it’s been tricky for me lately, if you visit me, I’ll come visit you right back.

No worries – next month, my favorite interspecies couple will be back to irk and entice each other (and delight us).

Until then, though…here’s a little taste of something brand new.

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is November 1, 2017.
  • I have 1 paragraph for you today, for the date.


Her scalp tightened with each new item, so that, by the end, it felt far too tight to hold her skull, and the familiar pain was settling in behind her left eye like a Canivaarii fang, pressing and puncturing.

Who is “she”?

What are the items she references?

What do you most want to know after reading this?

Any guesses?

If you’re missing TnT, no worries. While our co-combatants are on hiatus, you can pop over to my page anytime, and catch up on some of their other adventures.


And, as always, clicking the little blue froggy above will carry you on to other WIPpet offerings from our talented and diverse group of writerly folks. You can even add your own date-related excerpt if you’re so inclined!


Posted in Blog Hops and Fests, Enterprise fan fiction, Fan fiction, fantasy, Flash Fiction Pieces, SoCS, Star Trek: Enterprise, Story a Day, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, The IDIC Romance, Weekly Features, Writing Samples

Fiery Contrasts for #SoCS and #StoryADay

Hi there!

Today is Saturday, and that means it’s time for another Stream of Consciousness Saturday post. This week’s prompt is “cold/hot.”

Since I’m in the midst of another busy weekend as a hot sauce vendor with Chef Bluebeard’s Flavor Enhancement Sauces (craft fair today, and a farmer’s markets tomorrow and Monday), I’ve decided to combine the prompt with my two Story A Day pieces for today. The first is a battle between two sisters who have been fighting since childhood. The second is a character trying to sell another character on something. Both were written in stream-of-consciousness style (almost) without editing.

For Solemates (Trueborn Series): This novel chronicles the long-awaited coming-together of a starfaring man and a planetbound woman who have shared a deep telepathic bond since they were children – but have never actually met.

“Fiery Weaving”

Niaan shivered, despite her coat. The cold and dark were soaking into her, tasting of ashes and a mate she couldn’t feel.

Did Kaivelt yet live, or had her burned to ash while his ship moved toward them, bright as a firestar in the night?

“We must nay stop, sister.”

But Niaan did nay listen. She could nay. All was the searching after Kaivelt, in her mind and in the sky. The firestars held her with their cold heat, and she could nay move forward – until she saw the lifepine.

It was nay near as tall as Osiraan, but it would allow her to see the firestars, and search the skies for the first signs that Kaivelt’s ship was coming – and mayhap some proof that he yet lived.

“Do nay go into the trees, Niaan.”

Vaara moved to stand before her, teeth bared and ruff lifted. She would fight, if Niaan allowed it – but, in that breath, Kaivelt surged into her, and she was aflame, scorched by his Burning. Hotter than the firestars was the force of his being in hers, and it demanded without words or thought.

It needed, with the instinct of Huntlust and the need to survive.

She cried her need, his need out into the night, and drove down and beneath Varaa’s belly, snapping up as she passed, so that the Canivaarii would be distracted and unable to set fang to her. Then she was past, and near to the trunk, barely scaping the snarling jaws of her half-twin and gaining the tree.

Up she went, with nay a care for the wolf below; Vaara would nay climb, even for this, and so she was safe, and alone, and Kaivelt’s flames filled her, seared her blood and her breath with slicing talons of need.

No time for a bower, now. They were all flame, all need, hot fire and cold night air. She found a crook in the tree’s trunk, and wedged herself into it.

And then she gave herself to Kaivelt, and to the fiery weaving between them.

For “Highly Classified Drabbles”, a young woman must come to terms with an irreversible act she committed seventeen years before, and which she was later compelled to forget. I used the prompt words listed below.

  1. bomb
  2. signal
  3. afford
  4. unpack
  5. smell
  6. name
  7. discreet
  8. hot
  9. cold

Standard Disclaimer: I don’t own them, or profit from them; I just tell their stories, and share them.

Cut Short

“T’Pol?” Jonathan Archer stands by the door, watching her. “Why do I get the feeling you’re about to unpack a bombshell on me?”

His name was Jossen, and she had killed him. She can smell the fetid jungle, and the scent of his charred flesh, and she represses the need to retch.

She shivers despite being hot. Illogical that her guilt is a cold thing within her.

“T’Pol? You’re giving all the signals of a person who can’t afford to keep this to yourself. You brought me along because you trust me, and I’m discreet.”

Jossen’s cry echoes, cut short.

For more #SoCS posts, visit Linda’s prompt post.

Posted in Challenges and Contests, Flash Fiction Pieces, Story a Day May Challenge, Writers' Resources, Writing in Freedom, Writing Samples

Lavender? #StoryADay May; Day Thirty-One

The Prompt:

  • Write A Story About A Writer.

  • This story is the thirty-first in a series of explorations for my upcoming novel, Still Nameless (Kifo Island #8) , which I will be drafting in July.

Today marks the final story in my expedition to learn more about my pending novel’s characters. So it seems fitting that we’ve come full circle, all the way back to what began this series – a postcard of a tropical beach, written in lavender ink, and carrying a shocking, presumably impossible message.

It’s time to meet the author of that postcard, and learn something of the reason for it…

But, before we do that, please let me take this moment to thank everyone who came by to read some or all of this story. Things got a little crazy between physical and fictional realities, and I haven’t been as prompt at responding to comments as I’d like to be.

I’m going to take a few days of (relative) rest, though, and, during that time, comments will be high on my agenda, because I really do love reading and responding to them.

And now, I present…


Ophelia tapped the edge of the postcard on the play table. She looked at the clay, the sinks, the tools, the paints. It was all bright and lovely , and she had it pretty much to herself – the young woman who ran the place was out on the attached beach with her husband and twins.

She hated being here. It was so much like home. But so poisoned, to her mind, by everything that had happened here, ten years ago.

She had to know.

There was no way that Lavender could be alive. She’d held her while she died, while Marilyn was off in the bathroom shooting up her last-ever dose of opioid poison. She’d always wondered which of them had died first, or if it had been at the same time.

She also wondered why that mattered to her. Dead was dead; the end.

Unless, somehow, Lavender was alive.

The bells at the door tinkled, and it opened. A girl who looked barely into her teens came in.

She was blonde, blue-eyed – and she was wearing lavender – a sundress that slipped gently over new curves. She had a wide sunhat with a lavender band, and she looked around the room, then, apparently noticing Ophelia, she came right up to her table.

“I see you got my postcard,” she said, softly, ducking her head. “I wasn’t sure you would come.”

“Why did you write this? Who are you?”

“It would be easier to show you. Can I sit down?”

Ophelia nodded. She hadn’t expected a child – or someone who looked almost like Marilyn brought back to life the way she’d looked in some of those old family portraits in that mausoleum of a house where she’d grown up. Maybe she should be on her guard – but this girl could be Lavender – if Lavender had been a quick developer…

“I brought you a little gift. Maybe that will help me explain.” The girl reached into the handbag slung over her shoulder – it was made of denim, and trimmed with embroidered lavender flowers. She pulled out a long box, gift wrapped in silver paper with lavender hearts, and tied with a satin bow, also lavender. It seemed a bit like overkill, until Ophelia remembered being this age, and how forcefully she’d identified with certain things.

She took the package the girl offered. “Thank you.” A pause, and the child ducked her head. “With all my heart. Please open it.”

Ophelia did as the girl asked. Inside was a bed of – what else? – lavender tissue paper. When she lifted it, she discovered a purple stethoscope.

“I don’t understand. I’m not a doctor or a nurse.” She didn’t add that she also didn’t see what any of this had to do with Lavender.

“But you had a baby niece. Ten years ago. She died.”

“How do you know this? And why did you write this postcard?”

“I – didn’t know how to meet you. And I wanted to.”


“It’s been ten years. I thought you might want to hear your niece’s heart beating.”

What does the girl mean by that?

Who is she?

How does she know about Lavender?

Any guesses?

Posted in Challenges and Contests, Flash Fiction Pieces, Story a Day May Challenge, Writers' Resources, Writing in Freedom, Writing Samples

The Hollow Place: #StoryADay May; Day Thirty

The Prompt:

  • Write a Hansel & Gretel Structured Story.

  • This story is the thirtieth in a series of explorations for my upcoming novel, Still Nameless (Kifo Island #8), which I will be drafting in July.

The Hollow Place

“Put it back on! Put it back on!” Marilyn squeezes her eyes closed, claps her hands over them.

“Marilyn, put your hands down and look at your daughter. You can’t hide from this.” There is something in Ophelia’s tone that Marilyn latches onto. It’s a distraction; she won’t have to think about how childish she looks like this, covering her eyes so she won’t see the baby girl.

“You aren’t my mother!”

“No. But you are hers.”

Damn! She’d fallen right into the trap. Ophelia is good enough at that to actually be someone’s mother.

Would her nameless broken doll of a baby be broken if Ophelia was her mother?

“She’s a broken doll – ”

“No, she isn’t. She’s a living being. She’s going to die soon – and she deserves to be seen by her mother while she’s still alive.”

But Ophelia’s wrong. This isn’t a baby, and not a living being. Not really. It’s a broken doll, and she doesn’t want to look at the shattered places in the doll’s head, and the hollow place where a brain should be, but isn’t. It reminds her of the hollow house, and her hollow life.

And the hollowness inside her.


Damned Ophelia, not letting her hide, not giving up on her. How the hell did she get so stubborn, so strong?

But Marilyn knows the answer to that.

She has a mother who loves her. A mother who stayed alive, and does the things a mother is supposed to do for her child.

Marilyn has a baby now. That makes her a mother.

The mother of this nameless, broken baby girl.

She’s broken too – not with a skull that has a hole in it, and no brain inside…no. Not like that. But she’s no less broken.

Sometimes broken doesn’t show unless someone peels back her long sleeves to find the track marks.

“Marilyn. It’s time to look at your daughter. To face this. That’s why we came here, after all.”

She doesn’t argue. There’s no point. Ophelia takes her wrists and applies gentle pressure upward. Gentle, but firm and relentless, just like this strange half-sister who is at least half a mother.

And more of a mother than Marilyn can ever remember having. So she lets Ophelia guide her up, guide her to the side of the little clear plastic basinette where she knows her sister taped pictures and notes – stupid, to do that for a baby who is blind, deaf, and has nothing to see or hear or think with…but that’s not the best thing to be thinking about, because it just slices at her insides, and Ophelia isn’t going to let her loose until she looks, and she doesn’t want to think about what’s waiting when she does.

“Let’s count to three, then it’s time to put down your hands and open your eyes. See her, hold her, and give her a name. Then we can put the cap back on.”

She isn’t going to give up. Marilyn pretends she’s on the nod inside, and counts with her sister.

And then she has to look. At the places where there’s no skull, and emptiness stares up at her…it helps to pretend she’s looking at a doll, and nothing more, but she doesn’t say so, since Ophelia will try to force her to see a real live baby. She looks, but won’t let herself feel. She doesn’t even feel when she holds the little warm bundle – she used to have lifelike baby dolls – that’s all this is. No matter if she doesn’t name her –

“Time to give her a name, Marilyn.”

“Damned nosy kid.”

“That would make a lousy name. You can do better.”

She just wants Ophelia off her back. Out of her face. She tries to think of something – anything.

There’s a lavender band around the edge of the blanket, and on the cuffs of the baby’s sleeper.
It gave her an idea – “Lavender. Her name is Lavender.”

“Miss Morgan?”

Marilyn knows the doctor’s voice; she has an unmistakable accent. Warm and soft, like the way she feels after she shoots up. But now, there’s something darker lacing it, and Marilyn holds the broken doll of a baby close to her, and rocks it. She turns to look at the doctor.

“She can’t live much longer than another day or two. Her breathing is failing. I know you haven’t been ready till now, but the donation papers need to be signed before she dies, if her organs are going to have the maximum positive impact -”

“I have to use the bathroom.” She presses the baby toward her sister; Ophelia opens her arms, cooing senselesly to the blind deaf brainless little thing. She’s distracted by that; she doesn’t look supicious, and the doctor doesn’t know her well enough.

But she has to get away, has to escape. Somewhere with no broken baby dolls, no broken places in herself, no papers to sign and pieces of her doll given to all the mothers of all the other broken baby dolls, because those ones can be fixed, but hers is broken forever –

She grabs her purse and leaves them there. She can feel her kit through the fabric.

She thinks of Brad. This is his broken baby doll, but he left her here alone with it.

He escaped.

She can escape, too.

Will she sing the organ donation papers?

What kind of escape is Marilyn planning?

Is there any hope for her hollow placces?

Any guesses?

Come back tomorrow for another installment, and we can explore this new story seed together!

Posted in Challenges and Contests, Flash Fiction Pieces, Just for Fun!, Story a Day May Challenge, Writers' Resources, Writing in Freedom, Writing Samples

Burden and Release: #StoryADay May; Day Twenty-Nine

The Prompt:

  • Watch the video and write an Ugly Duckling story.

  • This story is the twenty-ninth in a series of explorations for my upcoming novel, Still Nameless (Kifo Island #8), which I will be drafting in July.

Burden and Release:

Ophelia needs a winter coat.

But, if she buys one, that means she’s staying here.

She peels herself out of the baggy layers of hoodies, sweating and contorting, and pulling a muscle low in her back.

A winter coat would be a burden, but then so are all these layers, and the sweat underneath them, and just being here with the half-sister who seems like she’s more than halfway a monster most of the time.

The ridicule and shame heaped upon her are burying her. Before coming here, Ophelia never really cared what people thought of her – but then, most people seemed to think well of her. Here, just because of the way she looks, and who her family is, she’s judged, and the judgment is grinding and crushing her.

And that’s all before Marilyn had taken advantage of her biological need to sleep, and snuck out.

Another burden, there.

What’s she supposed to do about Marilyn, when nobody else seems to have the slightest ability to change her? When her baby is already as good as dead, and not a person in any sense medicine can explain? Not one adult seems to know what to do – why should she be able to?


Ophelia needs a swimsuit.

She reaches for the bell, and two minutes later, there’s a tap at the door, and a package slips through the chute.

“Are you ready to go to the beach, now?” Marilyn’s belly is huge; the baby will be here in a couple of weeks, maybe three, but no more than that.

She pushes the thought away, stretches and yawns. Her muscles are alive and warmed by the sun that reminds her so much of home. “Let’s go, sis.”

Is it just hiding, to pretend that all is well? To ignore that glassy look in Marilyn’s eyes, and the almost giddy bounciness to the way that she walks? To see the admiring glances and bask in acceptance, as though this is a welcome, healthy, happy baby waiting to be born, and a robust young mother-to-be, and a younger sister who will soon be a doting aunt?

Maybe it is – but, as long as she pretends, she’s free of the burdens. Maybe that’s why Marilyn’s always on a trip – it’s her way of getting out from under her burdens.

Maybe this is her type of trip, then – to take this time to just be with Marilyn, in a place where she’s not an ugly duckling, but instead a beautiful swan.

Is Ophelia just on her own kind of Trip?

Is Marilyn actually any better?

Will this end well?

Any guesses?

Come back tomorrow for another installment, and we can explore this new story seed together!